Music papers hit right note with Junior Cert students

Many Junior Certificate students hoped to end their exams on the right note with their written music papers.

The majority of almost 11,000 who were entered for the subject were taking the higher-level paper which Noel Cronin considered a fair examination.

The Teachers’ Union of Ireland representative believed students who had their work done on the set works would have found the related questions very manageable. They would also have liked the composing questions and the general study section.

Music from three different decades featured on the listening tests, including excerpts from Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong’s 1950s version of ‘Dream a Little Dream of Me’, 1980s tracks from U2 (‘I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For’) and Survivor (‘Eye of the Tiger’), and the 2009 version of ‘Imagine’ by the cast of TV musical series, Glee.

Mr Cronin said students needed to listen carefully and use their musical knowledge to do well in this section.

Association of Secondary Teachers Ireland (ASTI) subject spokesperson Siofra Cox thought students would have been entertained by the main Star Wars title appearing as a test excerpt at the start of the exam.

She agreed students would have been reasonably challenged to recognise style and genre in the excerpts of modern music. There were no surprises in the composition section of the paper, she said, and most students would have recognised popular ‘See You Again’ in the triad section.

Ms Fox thought the ordinary level paper would have been straightforward for students, although there were a couple of tricky parts. These included defining a square dance in one question, and identifying a slip jig in another.

Mr Cronin said this exam was very fair, and a lot of multiple choice questions would have helped students.

n In the afternoon, technology was examined and Gary Doherty of the ASTI said the paper was fair and balanced, encompassing a broad section of the syllabus.

Throughout the paper, students where challenged to think critically about familiar objects and had to design additional elements for some. The technology in smartphones appeared in two short questions and a long one, while UCC’s first maths professor George Boole, whose theories paved the way for digital computing, also featured.

Mr Doherty noted a focus on green technologies in consumer products and online payments, while students were pleased with a question that discussed the structural design of a gantry crane for a workshop.


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